- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 27, 2009

HHS

Sebelius: Ample flu vaccine forthcoming

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said Monday that the swine flu vaccine “is coming out the door as fast as it comes off the production line.”

But at the same time, she acknowledged delays in getting a sufficient supply for all those demanding it.

“We were relying on the manufacturers to give us their numbers, and as soon as we got numbers, we put them out to the public. It does appear now that those numbers were overly rosy,” Mrs. Sebelius said in one interview. “We do have a vaccine that works.”

Mrs. Sebelius said the immune response is working faster than officials anticipated.

Appearing Monday morning on national news shows, she said officials now have a supply of about 16.5 million doses of the vaccine, while conceding that that number is millions of doses below the amount needed.

Mrs. Sebelius said she couldn’t predict just how widespread the virus will be. About 1,000 people have died from it so far in the United States. But she also said officials do not believe there is yet any cause to close schools and cease other daily activities.

VETERANS

Gates, Shinseki talk mental issues

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said Monday that troops injured in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan continue to face too many bureaucratic hurdles.

Mr. Gates spoke at a mental health summit with Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki. By appearing publicly together, they sought to reinforce their commitment to tackling veterans’ health issues and the stigma associated with seeking mental health care.

Earlier this year, they pledged with President Obama to create a system that would make it easier for the Pentagon and VA to exchange information so there is less of a wait for veterans to get disability benefits. The VA is struggling with a backlogged disability claims system with hundreds of thousands of claims that need to be processed.

“Who’s vulnerable? Everyone,” Mr. Shinseki said. “Warriors suffer emotional injuries as much as they do physical ones.”

FEDERAL COURT

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